Friday, 11 November 2011

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Three clips from the silent film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 1921, directed by Rex Ingram.

A short account of the plot, from Liam O’Leary’s excellent book, Rex Ingram, master of the silent cinema:
The story of The Four Horsemen began in the Argentine and told of the return of two branches of a wealthy family to Europe, one to Germany and the other to France. The pleasure-loving central character seduces the wife of one of his father’s friends but eventually fights for France when the war comes. His German cousins are fighting on the other side. The erring wife returns to her husband, now blinded by the war. Julio, the hero, is killed.

Julio was of course played by Rudolph Valentino in his first major role. The part of Marguerite Laurier was taken by Alice Terry, who later married Rex Ingram. Julio’s father was Joseph Swickard, and the injured husband was John Sainpolis.

Rex Ingram was born in Dublin in 1893, and went to the US in 1911. He studied sculpture, turned to acting and writing, and directed his first film aged 23. After achieving success in Hollywood, he eventually relocated to Nice where he had his own film studio, and where a young Michael Powell worked as his assistant.

Below, a sketch by Ingram for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, along with photographs from the production, all taken from Liam O’Leary’s book.

Above: Alice Terry and Rudolph Valentino rehearse the tango.
Below: Rex Ingram instructs Valentino.

1 comment:

Oscar Grillo said...

Vincent Minelli's re-make with Glenn Ford is hilarious...The Argentinian sequences with J. Lee Cobb as a very energetic dancing gaucho patriarch are a scream!